He felt so near, and her skin tingled in sudden desire. His eyes bored into hers, challenging her to argue further. He looked very intimidating, and she didn’t have a good response, so she huffed and turned her back to him. It was a silly argument. It was the kind of argument a man and his wife would have, which served to point out exactly what they weren’t. It hurt her feelings that he hadn’t visited her for nearly two weeks, though she was only now admitting it to herself. She hadn’t realized how much it meant to her that he cared about her. Now she had doubts that he did. She spooned eggs out of the frying pan onto the plate.
Her hand stilled when she felt his touch. He lightly grazed her shoulder with his fingertips and moved her hair to one side. Gently, he kissed the nape of her neck. It sent a shiver of delight down to her toes.
“I’ve missed you, naughty Nettie,” he said, his voice husky. “And I’m proud of you.”
Her heartbeat quickened, and she felt another delightful tremor. She set the spoon down noiselessly. “Proud of me?” she squeaked.
He wrapped his arms around her waist. When she relaxed and tilted her head back to rest on his chest, he kissed the shell of her ear. “Mm hmm. You’ve been catching fish, and you did well in the rain because you prepared for it.”
“Yes,” she said breathlessly as he reached up with one hand and pushed her shirt aside. He kissed along her bare shoulder. She felt hazy with desire until a sudden thought struck her, jolting her out of her reverie. “Wait. How did you know I did well? Were you spying on me?” She turned her head to try to see his face.
He continued to hold her against him with one strong arm. “That’s one way of looking at it,” he said between kisses on her shoulder. “I checked on you a few times.”
She stiffened and pulled away. He released his hold on her when she twisted violently. She spun to face him and shoved a finger into his chest, which felt like solid rock. “And you didn’t so much as say hello? That’s not right, Trapper Jack.”
He drew a deep breath before he spoke. “What’s not right is you insisting on living there in that cave instead of here. I’ve only reluctantly permitted it.”
Nettie’s temper flared. She temporarily forgot her desire for him. All she could think of in that moment was that she was once again at another’s man mercy. “Permitted it? You’ve permitted nothing,” she said angrily. “I have every right to stay where I please. It’s not your right to permit or forbid it.” She glared up at him.
Jack’s face hardened, and she saw a tick in his jaw to indicate he was gritting his teeth. He pivoted away from her and in one stride reached the stool by the table, where he sat. Nettie returned to spooning food onto the plate. She felt his eyes on her, watching her every move. Her feelings were conflicted. She had been worried that he didn’t care about her. Now that she had confirmation he cared enough to spy on her, she felt like all of her efforts were in vain. She wanted to be self-sufficient, and the fact that Jack checked in on her meant that she wasn’t.
She didn’t want to look at him, fearing she would burst into tears from the emotions raging inside of her. With her eyes lowered, she brought the plate of food to the table and set it down in front of him. When she let go of the plate, he captured her wrist suddenly, with the speed of a mountain lion. Nettie gasped and met his heated gaze.
Jack’s dark eyes flashed with fury, and when he spoke, his voice was low and dangerous. “You don’t have rights out here, woman. Here, the weak are at the mercy of the strong, and that makes me your master.”
Nettie felt outraged by his words. She tried to pull away, but he continued to hold her wrist in an iron grip. It wasn’t tight enough to hurt, but it was unyielding. He stood slowly and loomed over her. His face twisted into a scowl as he took steps forward that made her take steps back until she was flush against the wall. He captured her other wrist and pinned both in one of his hands, then held them uncomfortably high over her head against the splintering logs of the cabin’s wall. Her breathing became ragged. She stared into his eyes and felt a hunger she hadn’t felt for a long time. “I know you wouldn’t harm me,” she croaked.
“Do you?” he snarled.
She let out a whimper. She wasn’t afraid. Not really. She felt alive and on edge, wondering what his next move would be. His hand trailed along her neck down to her breast, which he squeezed and flattened with his palm.
“I’ve been too easy on you.” He pinched her peaked nipple through her shirt, with enough pressure to make her cry out. “You think there’s no cause to fear me, but you’re wrong about that.”
Nettie closed her eyes. She felt frantic with lust. She needed his whole body to press against hers. She wanted him to kiss her as roughly as he was speaking to her. “Why do you want me to fear you?” she asked in a tremulous voice.
Jack released her wrists. She felt bereft of his touch when he took a short step back, but that feeling didn’t last long. He took hold of her arm, dragged her to the bed and shoved her onto her stomach. He yanked down her trousers and ripped off her drawers with terrifying speed. With lengths of rope he’d apparently picked up on the way to the bed, he bound an ankle to one bedpost and repeated the motions for the other. It happened so fast and came as such a surprise that it didn’t occur to Nettie to try to break free until it was too late—not that she would have been successful, had she tried.
He pulled her hands forward and tied them to the bed as well. There she lay, spread eagle and naked from the waist down. Her open legs allowed a breeze of cool air to brush her sex, and the muscles there constricted, desperate for something to fill it.
Before she knew it, she was alone in the cabin. Jack had left her there, and she had no idea where he went or when he would return. Her heart beat heavily in her chest. After what seemed like an eternity, the cabin door opened, and what she saw sent her heart racing even faster. In his hand was a switch the length of her arm and the width of one of her fingers. Her stomach flopped as he approached her. “Please, Trapper Jack. Why are you doing this?” she whispered.
Instead of answering, he snapped the switch across the low curve of her bottom. It caused a pain like no other, and it intensified in the seconds after the blow. She screamed and twisted, but her binds barely allowed her to move at all.
He gave her another lick, this time across her upper thighs. The burn was sharp, searing, unbearable. She screamed again. She didn’t think he’d heard her question until she heard his explanation through the pain.
“Why am I whipping you? Because you don’t fear being attacked by a grizzly.” A whistle, another lick. “You don’t fear starving to death.” Swish. “You don’t fear freezing to death.” Thwack! “You don’t fear injury.” Three more times he switched her.
Nettie wailed. She pressed her pelvis into the bed, her body involuntarily and uselessly trying to shrink away from the fierce burn. Tossing the switch aside after the seven licks, he leaned over her and grabbed the back of her neck. She felt his hot breath on her ear. “You should be afraid, woman. Those who don’t fear nature die. Fear is useful. Pride is not.”
He released her neck and trailed his hand along her back to her throbbing seat. He gave her a sharp swat with his palm. He sat on the bed and spanked her with his hand, over and over, ignoring every wail and plea for mercy. “Since you’re foolish enough to not fear living alone in the woods with limited skills, then you will fear me. I can ensure your survival, but only if you’re afraid enough to obey.”
The pain grew with each spank, and he didn’t stop for some time. She cried as he punished one side of her bottom and then the other, his palm cracking down on top of the welts he’d left with this switch. When he finally stopped, she could hardly think, such was the pain radiating from her backside.
He stood and walked away, leaving her trembling on the bed. She watched through blurry, tear-filled eyes as he strode to the table, sat down on the stool, and ate the food she’d prepared for him. He didn’t so much as glance at her throughout his meal. Her breathing slowed and her body slackened, weary from stiffening and trying to twist away in vain throughout the punishment.
After some time, her shoulders and legs cramped from being tied in the same position. When Jack finished his meal and stood, she addressed him meekly. “Trapper Jack, please… Please, will you release me from these binds? My whole body aches.”
He regarded her for a moment, then walked to the bed and untied the rope from her wrists and ankles. He sat down next to her as she sat up on her knees and rubbed her wrists while pouting at him. He wasn’t at all moved by her injured expression. He pointed a finger at her face. “I’ll do that again and worse if you don’t mind me. The minute I decide not to permit you to stay in that cave is the minute you’ll be gone from it. And that minute is approaching faster than you think. Got it?”
She nodded. “Yes, I’ve got it.” She felt compelled to scowl at him, but thought better of it. She lowered her eyes in submission.
He stood and took a step away. To her great confusion, she didn’t want him to leave. She wanted him to stay with her, so she cleared her throat. “Do I have your permission to leave the bed now, master and king of the forest?” Her tone was cheeky, and she wondered if she’d lost her blooming mind.
He turned slowly and stared at her, looking incredulous. “Dare you say that again?”
Her heartbeat quickened. “My master,” she said softly, peering up at him through her lashes. The cheekiness was gone from her tone, replaced by longing. “King of the forest,” she added breathily.
Heat infused his gaze. He took the stride back to the bed and climbed over her. His legs straddled her hips. She lay on her back and stared into his eyes. Inches from her face, he said, “And again?” His voice was quieter, gentler.
“My master,” she whispered. “King of—”
He interrupted her last words with his kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck and drew him to her with a longing for his passionate embrace, a feeling she’d all but forgotten existed. As his tongue took possession of her mouth, his hand trailed up her leg, from her ankle to her hip. She moaned into the kiss when he cupped her sore bottom, which only made him squeeze it possessively. She released her grip around his neck and tugged at the buttons on his shirt. He stopped kissing her long enough to assist in removing the material from him and tossed it aside.
His naked chest now above her in all its taut, muscled glory, she sank her fingers into the black hair and warm flesh and ran her hands down his torso. He kissed along her neck, down to the valley of her cleavage, tearing her shirt off as he did. His hand, which had minutes ago inflicted such pain, hovered lightly below her core, his fingertips just grazing her opening until she arched into his ready grip.
He held her cunny in his large hand and growled against her neck. “Naughty Nettie. You’re very wet.” She moaned as his thumb found her pleasure nub and circled it gently. He pinched and flicked, eliciting short gasps and whimpers from her lips.
“Please…” she begged.
“Please what?” he asked roughly. He drove two fingers into her and bent them forward at the knuckle.
She let out a low purr and closed her eyes.
“Say what you need or you won’t get it.” His voice was authoritative. Insistent. His thumb pressed on her clit, and then all movement ceased. He waited for an answer as he held her most intimate parts in his hand.
“I need your cock inside of me,” she breathed, heat flushing her face.
His fingers retreated, and a moment later she felt the head of his manhood pressing against her slick entrance. She spread her legs wider and gazed at him in a haze of need. His eyes closed as he moved into her, piercing her slowly and letting out a groan from deep in his throat as his cock met the resistance of her tight passage.
Never had she felt so possessed as she did while he took her. After the initial slow stretch, his movements were hard and fast, and he held her to his chest as he switched to a seated position. Grasping her hips and ass, he pulled her forward to meet his thrusts. She clung to him and raked her fingers along his back, wanting to feel every inch of his powerful body. As her desire built, her moans and sighs turned into whimpers, until she cried out her release. Her legs trembled against his hips and she would have arched off his lap if Jack hadn’t moved his hands to her shoulder blades and held her steady as the waves of desire rumbled through her body.
She slackened against him and Jack moved her to lie on her back once again as he rode his way to his own pleasure. She felt her insides flood with his seed. Jack collapsed next to her and pulled her to him. When she rested her head on his chest, he kissed her where her hair parted, in a sweet way that seemed markedly human after such an animalistic claiming.
“That was amazing,” Nettie said when she found her normal voice.
Jack’s response was to hold her tighter to him. Nettie smiled to herself. His punishment had been harsh, but it hadn’t been cruel, and the way he held her betrayed his tender feelings for her. She wasn’t afraid of him, though she didn’t particularly wish to do anything to earn other switching.
Jack seemed to know she didn’t feel afraid because he felt it necessary to pull her over his lap and deliver five sharp swats to her very sore bottom. “Just in case you think this changes anything,” he explained in a growl. “You will still mind me, woman.”
She again struggled not to glare at him when he righted her on the bed. He stood and strode to his chair, where he sat and stared at the fire. As he ignored her, Nettie gingerly scooted off the bed. She felt too sore to don her rough trousers, so she put on one of Jack’s shirts and walked to the table, picked up the plate, and glided noiselessly to the Dutch oven, feeling his gaze on her once again. She added food to the plate and ate her portion of the meal standing in silent contemplation. Now that Jack had dominated and claimed her in such a primal way, she didn’t imagine he would allow her to leave, which meant she either needed to resign herself to staying with him or sneak back to the cave.
She let out an involuntary groan at the latter choice, since she reckoned that would only work for as long as it took for him to hunt her down and capture her. If he tied her up and switched her over an innocuous statement about her rights, she shuddered to think what he would do if she snuck away. She was also mildly curious and aroused by the idea. She felt her stomach tighten and her arousal heighten again just thinking about the way he’d punished and then taken her.
She glanced at the beast of a man and suddenly needed to feel his arms around her. After lovemaking, her husband always held her. She never wanted her johns to do the same, but she felt empty now without Trapper Jack’s touch. She ridded herself of the plate and wandered over to him.
He frowned at her. “What is it, Nettie?”
“I’m just wondering if I might…” She tried to find the right words. It was embarrassing to admit she needed his comfort, especially when she wasn’t entirely sure whether he would give it to her.
She sighed. “I’m wondering if I might sit on your lap.”
Jack’s expression remained hard, but he leaned back and opened his arms. When she curled into his body, he circled them around her and held her tight to his chest. She rested her head in the crook of his neck and shoulder. It felt so good being held by him. She sighed with contentment. He was a brute, but if he held her like this often, she could overlook that.
“I’m surprised you want to sit,” he said, and kissed her forehead in the sweet gesture she was already coming to love and recognize. She closed her eyes, feeling very tired suddenly. As she relaxed against him and listened to his beating heart, she decided she was right where she wanted to be.
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